Newest Review: ... and it took 3 months to get the money back. I have just moved to checkouts where I really start to see how much asda think of their emplo... more
My experience as an ASDA employee. A damning report.
Member Name: Bucky_Horse
Advantages: For me personally? None. Some people might find the discount card useful.
Disadvantages: Every aspect of the job.
My experience as an ASDA employee.
After being made redundant from my previous job I turned to ASDA for employment. I picked up an application form from my local 'Wal-Mart Supercentre', filled it out and returned it that evening. I was contacted a few days later about a night vacancy for 'general colleagues' and invited to a group interview called 'ASDA Magic'.
At first ASDA seemed to be a very promising place to work. Everyone in the interview was very friendly, even the managers taking notes for the session made an effort to keep everyone at ease and happy, making jokes and joining in with our discussions. Despite being an obvious 'company yes man' the people manager leading the session was pleasant, kind and friendly. As a result I left the session feeling happy and hoping I would get the job. The second interview went ok too, this time it was a one on one interview with a night section manager.
However after this things changed for the worse. I received a call telling me that I had got the job, and that I should attend an initial training session with the people manager.
This next session was mostly admin stuff to begin with, but as the day went on it became clear that the point of this session was clearly to brain wash us into the ASDA way of thinking. Positive opinions of ASDA were presented as fact instead of opinion, with the people manager making statements such as 'ASDA smart price IS quality food at an affordable price' whenever he had the opportunity, and particular emphasis was put on the 'ASDA value' that states 'We care for our colleagues every day'. We were repeatedly told the company DOES care for its workers, at least 15 times throughout the 8 hour training day. We had the 'benefits' that ASDA provides to it's staff drummed into us repeatedly, but in reality these benefits either don't exist in the same form as was explained to us, don't exist at all, are actually legal requirements that the company has to adhere to by law, or have so many conditions attached to them that they aren't worth the paper their written on. The only real benefit is the discount card, but you don't receive it until you have worked there for 12 weeks and it doesn't include a discount on petrol or cigarettes (amongst other things). They don't tell you any of that during the training, of course. Although this applies only to me, as somebody who doesn't actually shop in ASDA the card is really no use to me at all.
We had to complete a large amount of 'quizzes', all of which contained positive writings about the merits of working at ASDA, and explained in very subliminal and indirect terms that you are expected to treat the job as the most important aspect of your life, and be understanding if ASDA asks you to do a lot more than originally planned. This sounds made up, but trust me, if you stay switched on and try to not let it get into your head you can actually see it working on some of the people around you.
They instruct instead of explain, you have to raise your hand like children in a primary school if you want to make a point or answer a question, and any question on the quiz that could produce a negative answer just happens to be multiple choice (all the answers are positive).
It's also worth noting that any 'sensitive subjects' such as disabilities and workers rights are covered by videos, making it impossible to answer back whilst you are being instructed about the subject. Any questions or negative points you bring up after the videos are instantly turned into a positive without giving you any real answer, or ignored completely.
One thing they do explain in no uncertain terms is that you are absolutely powerless against the customer. No matter how rude, aggressive or threatening they become, you ARE NOT allowed to answer or argue back. Instead you have to allow yourself to be degraded and embarrassed in a in attempt to hold on to as much custom as possible.
You are 'reminded' about the ineffectiveness of unions, and how bad they are for the company. New staff are given a very one sided argument against unions, and if you show any interest in joining one a brainwashed member of staff will inform a manager, who will promptly bully you out of doing it. The reasons ASDA don't want you to join a union will become obvious as you read on.
This carries on over the first two days. At the end you are issued with your uniform and a couple of name tags and told to 'wear you nametag with pride'. Right.
In most cases when you get onto the shop floor you'll be in for a shock. I've worked in retail before, but I've never experienced a store run the way ASDA do it. I have no problem with working nights or long hours, but the amount of work you are expected to fit into your shift, even as a brand new staff member is impossible. I was put on to chilled food after applying for the MVG (movies videos and games) or home ware sections without any warning of the change. You're supposed to have a training buddy, but mine cleared off after the first day and nobody has stepped up to replace him. I have only been working there for 2 weeks, but since the second night I have been working completely on my own, with no company, taking care of the entire salads, fillers, UHT and yogurt sections. I've had to work out how things work entirely on my own because everyone else is always too busy to give me any help, and whenever I do something even slightly wrong I get shouted at by my manager. We take 4 deliveries each night, and I have to organise and put out 2 or 3 cages for each one. If you don't finish your tasks in time you are expected to stay longer, with no breaks. On my second night I was there until 8:45 am, when I should have finished at 7. My usual shift hours are 11pm to 7am, but after 6am I change to day rate and get paid less for the final hour and any longer that I stay for (depsite spending nearly the whole night at work). As a new employee I'm on less than everyone else, despite the fact I do just as much work. You are encouraged to miss your 15 minute break to get more work done, which violates the working time directive laws. You can choose to take it, but the managers won't be happy.
Don't believe what they say about recognising achievement. Any genuine hard work will not be congratulated unless you are a favourite amongst the managers, or unless you receive a 100% mystery shopper score. If this happens you won't get to go out to a nice restaurant, instead you'll be 'treated' to a meal in Pizza Hut. Whoopee. Just to make this treat extra special it's held during the day, family aren't invited, and if you work nights you'll probably be sleeping when it happens.
The staff I work with seem incredibly rude, and even asking to borrow a kick stool is apparently a cardinal sin. If you ask to borrow a pump truck to move pallets boy are you in for a mouth-full! I would find my own, but this multi billion pound company apparently doesn't have the funds to buy more, unless you want to take it out of your bonus. The staff generally stay in their cliques and won't include you in any social activity if you're a new staff member.
If you ask anyone to help you they talk to you as if you are stupid, and appear to lord it over you that their more experienced in stacking shelves. Just like on the shop floor, lunch in the canteen is often a lonely affair. The time is spent watching terrible late night TV, eating cheap but sub-standard food, with nobody to talk too. Trying to start a conversation is hopeless and usually ends up as a few sentences followed by an awkward silence.
The company will try to find any excuse to reduce your bonus. It's basically set up so that you never get the actual amount they state in the interview and induction. On my first night the fire alarm went off 5 times due to a fault. The fire brigade were automatically called twice, and we were told the callout fee would be deducted from our bonus fund. I confronted my GSM directly about the issue, and explained how I thought it was unfair that we should pay the fees without having anything to do with the fire alarm system. His response was 'Life's not always fair'. If I didn't need the money so much I would have resigned on the spot.
Possibly the most disturbing aspect of working for ASDA is the way that every single standard put in place to protect workers and stock is neglected at night. There is a standard called 'challenge 20' which basically means that any chilled products can't be out of chiller for more than 20 minutes. I regularly walk past cages of chilled products that have been sitting on the warm shop floor for more than 5 hours (including milk and raw meats). The products are still put on the shelves, and whenever you try to bring it up with a manager they say that this rule reduces productivity, and that the cages are fine as long as they are 'near a chiller'. This is why I no longer shop in ASDA.
I finish every shift feeling depressed, downtrodden and undervalued. I think it's understandable considering I've only seen a single section of the shop all night, haven't had a proper conversation with anyone for 8 hours, and now have to spend my day sleeping so I'm ready for the night once again.
Summary: It's as close to knowing what a battery hen feels like that a human can 'legaly' get.